REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, BRUSSELS -- The Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, said the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the European Union (EU) and Indonesia will benefit Indonesia.
"In history, Indonesia's trade value with Europe has always been surplus. CEPA is expected to increase and profitable trade between the two sides," the minister said on Thursday.
The foreign minister said the visit of President Joko Widodo to Belgium will be used to negotiate a number of trading schemes between Indonesia and the EU.
Indonesia is the first country in Southeast Asia to enter a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the EU.
"Indonesia is ready to negotiate in the context of CEPA. This will send a strong signal from Indonesia to the international world regarding economic competitiveness, and Indonesia is open for that," the Foreign Minister stated.
In addition to CEPA, Indonesia and the EU also discussed the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which aims to make all timber products from Indonesia obtain a license. "Indonesia is now waiting for the EU to fully implement the FLEGT license," Retno said.
Indonesia and the EU also discussed the non-economic scheme of tolerance.
Minister Retno said the world has great hope from Indonesia as Islam, democracy, and tolerance can develop well in the country.
"Now, Indonesia has become a source of opinion on how to develop a pluralistic and tolerant society. We have a large Muslim population, stable politics, and a growing economy," Retno said.
She said the president will travel to The Hague, the Netherlands tonight (at local time).
Widodo is Indonesia's first president to visit the Netherlands after 16 years. President Abdurrahman Wahid was the last president to have visited the Netherlands in 2000.
On Friday, the President is scheduled to have a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander.
The President will also conduct a separate meeting with Queen Maxima, in her capacity as the United Nations? advisor for inclusive economic issues.
President Widodo will also make a visit to the Port of Rotterdam and attend The Netherlands-Indonesia business forum, which is expected to generate a foreign investment commitment of approximately US$601.2 million.
"We will focus on cooperation in maritime and water management, which are fields in which the Netherlands has excelled," Retno said.